Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has recently seen a string of indictments from a grand jury report relating to the seemingly endless sex abuse scandal. To be sure, it is a sad time for the Catholic Church in Philadelphia leaving many Catholics confused and saddened.
But there are some who see the Church’s problems as an opportunity. One church just outside Philadelphia seems to be taking advantage of this issue for their own gain in a pretty creepy manner. The Philadelphia Daily News highlights that a “reformed Catholic church” is using the sex abuse crisis to their advantage by running advertisements saying you should drop that old Catholic Church and come to their NEW AND IMPROVED “CATHOLIC” CHURCH because they don’t have any sex abuse!!
Seriously. That’s really what they’re saying.
Of course the media sees it as something akin to the Second Coming -that is if they believed in the first coming. Philadelphia Daily News reports:
I wanted to write about a provocative ad campaign launched this week by an independent church in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, called St. Miriam. It’s an Antioch-rite Catholic Church, different from Roman-rite ones in that its priests can be male or female, gay or straight. Celibacy is not required, and marriage is allowed.
St. Miriam’s ordained pastor, Father Jim St. George, founded the congregation three years ago, out of his own pocket.
He refers to his 180-member church as a “reformed” Catholic house of worship. His pithy ads, appearing three days a week in Montgomery County newspapers, make clear what “reformed” means.
“How could you say ‘no’ to your little girl if she wanted to become a priest?” reads one ad. “Could you really say that when God made us in His own image and likeness He forgot about women?”
Another ad notes that “being a good priest and a good family man are not incompatible things.”
And one ad trumpets, “Our Catholic Church has never had a sex abuse scandal!”
Ick. Capitalizing on the sex abuse scandal is more than a little creepy.
And doesn’t it just make you think of an airline that might advertise something like, “We’re just like the other airlines, except we never crash.” My first thought would be that I’m not getting on that airline until it crashes.
I mean, seriously, if this church is going to guarantee there won’t be any of that particular sin why not guarantee all the others too? What, I can’t get a no thieving guarantee? I’m even willing to play it a little loose on the whole coveting thy neighbor’s wife if you know what I mean if I can get a hard guarantee on thieving. How ‘bout it?
Look, if there’s anything we’ve all learned is that sexual abuse is a human problem, not just a Catholic problem. Sin is a human problem, not just a Catholic problem although you’d never get that from the media.
I’m still waiting for this church’s push for Muslim congregants when they advertise on Al Jazeera, “We’re just like Islam, but without all those messy beheadings!!!” I might be waiting a while on that one, huh?
Unfortunately, this church can’t come with a “no heresy” guarantee.